Archive for Jim Carrey

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Looking for an evening of high-brow, intellectually stimulating, cinematic entertainment done with sophistication and panache? Look elsewhere! This riotous sequel has very little plot and scads of deliciously vulgar, politically incorrect and just plain idiotic humor as presented by the master of rubber-faced lunacy, Jim Carrey. As a sort of prologue, the great pet detective is assigned to rescue a racoon stranded on a steep Himalayan hillside. After much danger, Ace manages to reach the stranded critter only to accidentally send it hurtling to its death. Devastated, poor Ace enters a Tibetan monastery to search for peace. His quest is interrupted when a British emissary arrives and begs him to head for Africa

What people are saying:

Nature Calls in this Ace Ventura sequel, and it’s answered by the law of diminishing returns” 2 stars

“Warner Bros. doubled the budget for this sequel in 1995. For their trouble, they got half as funny a film.” 1 star

“The first six unnecessary minutes are skippable. If you didn’t skip it, luckily it’s forgettable as the film goes on, which it’s in somewhat level that it’s better than its predecessor by being funnier.” 3 1/2 stars

“I just discovered that many people and Critics disliked this movie, in reality it is a 4 start movie it is very silly at times, but this is a movie me and my dad have quoted for over 20 years it is hilarious. It is so strange how for the longest time we talked about how much better When Nature Calls was than the first one only for me to find out now that Critics did not feel that way at all. There are way to many quotable hilarious scenes in the movie to not give it a chance, I feel it remains funny throughout the run time, still love it and quote it to this day.” 5 stars

“It’s just as good as the first. This sequel has even more ridiculous moments that are impossible to achieve, but what do you expect in a Jim Carrey movie? It’s just as funny as the first with the jokes but I liked the setting and plot better in the first one. But the humor is just as good.” 4 stars

Advertisements

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

When your dog, bird, or water-dwelling mammal disappears, who do you call? Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey) is a low-rent private eye who specializes in recovering lost animals, so when Snowflake, the Miami Dolphins’ aquatic mascot, is kidnapped, team representative Melissa Robinson (Courtney Cox) puts Ace on the case. However, Snowflake isn’t the only Miami Dolphin who has gone missing; several key members of the team also disappear, including quarterback Dan Marino (who plays himself), who is spirited away while filming a TV commercial. With the Super Bowl only two weeks away, will Ace be able to find Snowflake and the missing athletes in time to salvage the big game?

What people are saying:

“Ace is not the typical movie goofball, smart aleck, or idiot savant; he’s a genuine weirdo who happens to be stunningly competent at his job. The same can be said for the film’s justly popular leading man.” 4 stars

“The reason why this silly comedy film works is because Jim Carrey is so charming and likable as Ace Ventura, and even when nothing makes any sense and it goes all over the place, you just go with him because he is so damn funny. “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” made me laugh quite a bit.” 3 stars

“Not amazing but definitely great. Ace Ventura is an insane character portrayed by Jim Carrey. Although a very silly movie and very stupid it’s something to turn your brain off yo and enjoy. Now the second one? Oh god. Now that one was just awful” 4 stars

“While story structure may not be easy to connect with and the a lot of its technical side is cliche-ridden, but Ace Ventura gets by on an outstanding and vibrant character performed memorably by Jim Carrey. Many quotable lines and full of humor to spare.” 3 stars

“This movie stars Jim Carrey in the titular role as a private investigator who is hired to find missing pets. When a simple pet case becomes a bigger conspiracy, Ace only has a few short weeks to solve the mystery before the big Superbowl. This movie holds a special place in a lot of people my age’s hearts because they grew up with it, loving Carrey’s over-the-top performance. I never saw this movie as a kid. Instead of Ace Ventura, my Jim Carrey memories include Liar, Liar and Bruce Almighty. Honestly, this movie doesn’t do it for me. Jim Carrey has made a career of overacting, and, while this isn’t as bad as The Mask, it isn’t anything to write home about. The premise is innocent enough, but the sexual jokes just didn’t do anything for me save for the climactic crime-solving scene. I will say that it’s a harmless family movie that audiences will enjoy if only for nostalgia’s sake, but if you haven’t seen either Ace Ventura movie, you aren’t really missing much. Side note: I love seeing real celebrities play fictional versions of themselves, and Dan Marino in this movie is just fun.” 2 1/2 stars

Bruce Almighty

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on March 28, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is a television field reporter for Eyewitness News at WKBW-TV in Buffalo, New York, but desires to be the news anchorman. He is in a healthy relationship with his girlfriend Grace Connelly (Jennifer Aniston), but also has a mild crush on his co-worker, Susan Ortega (Catherine Bell), who barely seems to notice him. Bruce however continues to suffer unfortunate events and it reaches his breaking point when he is passed over for promotion by his rival, Evan Baxter (Steve Carell), who then steals dialogue from Bruce’s segment in accepting the promotion on-air. Bruce becomes furious and aggressively criticizes the station during his first live report (culminating with calling them “fuckers”), leading to his dismissal from the station. Following a series of other misfortunes, Bruce complains that God (Morgan Freeman) is “the one that should be fired.”

Bruce later receives a message on his pager, directing him to an empty warehouse where he meets God. God offers to give Bruce His powers to prove that He is doing the job correctly. God tells Bruce that he cannot tell others he has God’s powers, nor can he use the powers to alter free will. Bruce ignores God and is initially jubilant with the powers, using them for personal gain, such as training his dog to use the toilet, chasing away thugs by spewing out a swarm of hornets, and sexually impressing Grace. Bruce also finds ways of using the powers to cause miraculous events to occur at otherwise mundane events that he covers, such as discovering Jimmy Hoffa’s body or causing a meteor to harmlessly land near a cook-off, earning him his job back. Bruce then uses his powers to cause Evan to make a fool out of himself on-air, causing Evan to be fired in favor of Bruce as the new anchor.

After taking Grace to a fancy dinner and telling her he made anchor (angering her, as she thought he was going to propose), Bruce begins to hear voices in his head. He re-encounters God, who confronts Bruce on using his powers for personal gain and not helping people. He also explains that the voices are prayers to God that Bruce must deal with. Bruce creates a computerized email-like system to receive the prayers and respond, but finds that the influx is far too great for him to handle—even though God had stated that Bruce is only receiving prayers from the Buffalo area – and sets the program to automatically answer Yes to every prayer.

Bruce attends a party celebrating his promotion. When Grace arrives, she finds Bruce being seduced and kissed by Susan, and quickly leaves. Bruce follows Grace, but she is heartbroken and will not listen to him. He tries to use his powers to convince Grace to stay but cannot influence her free will. As Bruce looks around, he realizes that the city has fallen into chaos due to his actions. Bruce returns to God, who explains that He can’t solve all the problems, and that Bruce must figure out a way to solve it himself. Bruce then begins to solve his problems in life practically, such as helping a man whose car broke down across the street, training his dog normally, and allowing Evan to have his job back. Bruce returns to his computer system and goes about answering prayers as best he can. As he reads through them, he finds a prayer from Grace, wishing for Bruce’s success and well-being. As he reads it, another prayer from Grace arrives, this one wishing not to be in love with Bruce anymore.

Bruce is stunned and walks alone on a highway, asking God to take back His powers and letting his fate be in His hands. Bruce is suddenly struck by a truck, and regains consciousness in a white void. God appears and asks Bruce what he really wants; Bruce admits that he only wants to make sure Grace finds a man that would make her happy. God agrees and Bruce finds himself in the hospital, shortly after being revived—near miraculously—by the doctors. Grace arrives and the two rekindle their relationship, with Bruce and Grace later becoming engaged. After his recovery, Bruce returns to his field reporting but takes more pleasure in the simple stories. Bruce and Grace announce their engagement on live TV. The film ends with the beggar who Bruce had previously ran into on various occasions finally revealing himself to be God.

REVIEW:

Jim Carrey has had quite the career when it comes to film, especially the comedies. One his most memorable, though perhaps not for his performance, is Bruce Almighty. Let’s take a look at this film and see what is so intriguing about it, shall we?

What is this about?

When TV reporter Bruce Nolan angrily ridicules God, the Almighty responds by giving Bruce all His divine powers. But can Bruce improve on perfection?

What did I like?

Phonemonal cosmic power. Let’s think for a moment. If you had the power of God, what would you? My guess is that most of us would test it out a little bit, then do things to make our lives better, which would then be followed by the workload of the Almighty. So, pretty much what Jim Carrey does here is what we all do. Can’t fault him for that, at all, and he does so in true Carrey fashion. Love it!

God. Few people are capable and worthy enough to take on a role as big as God.  Alanis Morrissette did in Dogma, but all she did was skip around and smile. Patrick Stewart and James Earl Jones are usually called on to be the voice of God, but I don’t think they’ve ever portrayed him in person. Morgan Freeman, however, seems have that mixture of commanding screen presence, warmth, and Je ne se quoi that makes him the perfect choice. Even better is the fact that when he was cast, I don’t recall an uproar about his race, which really shows how well respected an actor he is.

Dog. In a small bit of comic relief (is that what you call this…in a comedy?), the dog has a couple of moments where it stands up, lift the toilet seat, and takes a piss. This is followed by another scene where he’s sitting on the toilet reading a newspaper. I thought that was kind of clever, as we all know dogs are horrible when it comes to using the bathroom where they are supposed to. Perhaps this is the director’s way of showing “what if”?

What didn’t I like?

Devil. If Morgan Freeman is God, shouldn’t there be a devil somewhere? I suggest that either the sister-in-law or his big rival, Evan, though the latter would ruin the premise of Evan Almighty, should be getting some kind of unholy help. It just makes sense to have yin and yang. Maybe that’s just me wanting too much balance, though.

Forgiveness. Is it me, or in every movie Jennifer Aniston is in she ends up walking in on a guy at the wrong moment and then spends the rest of the film being all pissy about it? Katherine Heigl is guilty of this, as well. Maybe this is just a female thing, but I know that guys are willing to forgive and forget in the blink of an eye, but women hold on to any and everything they see, regardless of the situation. This situation where Aniston walks in and seen Bruce making out with Catherine Bell’s character (who wouldn’t want to be in a triangle with those two, btw?) was nothing more than a misunderstanding. Had Aniston not been so overemotional and gone in the first place, Bell’s character wouldn’t have had the chance to throw herself at Bruce. Forgiveness is needed all around, methinks.

Blood type. At the end of the film, Bruce is laying in a hospital bed and glances over to see the bag of blood which is being pumped into him. He gives is a confused look and Jennifer Aniston’s character enters and says something that leads us to believe we missed an important scene. Roll credits and we se the outtakes of this scene in which they are sitting in the car discussing blood type and Bruce says the line that Aniston says. It all makes sense, now! Films do this more often than not. They will cut something that has significance to something later on, leaving the audience confused. I don’t know the reason this scene was cut, but since it was related to the hospital scene, some kind of effort should have been made to at least mention the blood type stuff somewhere else.

It’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I feel like I should be outside enjoying it, but I need to get some work done. Ever the procrastinator, I decided it was movie time! Bruce Almighty fit the bill perfectly for what I was looking for. Something light, funny, with a beautiful leading lady. I actually have very little negative to say about this, so let’s dispense with the formalities and allow me to tell you this a definite must-see film. I very highly recommend it!

5 out of 5 stars

Kick-Ass 2

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Dave Lizewski, bored after having retired from fighting crime as Kick-Ass, begins training with Mindy Macready to become a proper hero. Meanwhile, Chris D’Amico and his mother argue over the death of his father. Frustated, Chris kicks the tanning bed his mother is using, causing it collapse on Chris’ mother, killing her. Now with control over his family’s money, Chris reinvents himself as supervillain the Motherfucker and swears vengeance on Kick-Ass.

Mindy’s guardian, Marcus, discovers she is still fighting crime and makes her promise to give it up. Dave’s girlfriend, Katie Deauxma, has noticed Dave behaving strangely and breaks up with him, believing he is cheating on her with Mindy. Kick-Ass joins the superhero team Justice Forever, led by Colonel Stars and Stripes; it includes Battle Guy (Dave’s friend, Marty), Dr. Gravity, Insect Man, Night-Bitch, and the parents of a missing child named Tommy. The team starts out working at soup kitchens and patrolling the streets before taking on the larger task of shutting down a brothel. Kick-Ass begins a relationship with Night Bitch, and he and Marty try to get their friend Todd involved with heroics, but instead alienate him by calling his chosen identity, Ass Kicker, a copy of Kick-Ass.

Mindy tries leading a normal life. Brooke, one of the popular girls, suggests Mindy try out for the dance team at school, but when Mindy wows the audience with her audition, Brooke is unhappy. Dave tries to convince Hit-Girl to join Justice Forever, but she refuses, and promptly asks a boy to take her on a date. The date ends up as a cruel prank, leaving Mindy abandoned in the forest to walk home alone. Dave consoles the tearful Mindy and encourages her to beat the mean girls at their own game. The next day, Mindy does so with verbal put-downs and a crowd-control shock baton, resulting in her suspension from school. Meanwhile, Mr. Lizewski discovers Dave is Kick-Ass after finding his superhero costume in his room.

The Motherfucker assembles a gang of supervillains and establishes an underground lair. He finds Colonel Stars and Stripes and has Mother Russia, a massive Russian ex-con and former KGB agent, decapitate him before taunting Justice Forever on Twitter. He then tracks down Night-Bitch and attempts to rape her. When police arrive, Mother Russia kills all 10 officers, resulting in a police clampdown on both costumed villains and vigilantes. When the police track Dave through his IP address, Dave’s protective father claims he, not Dave, is Kick-Ass.

The Motherfucker, unconvinced the real Kick-Ass has been caught, learns from Todd, who had inadvertently joined the Motherfucker’s group, that the man identified as being Kick-Ass is actually his father. The Motherfucker has Mr. Lizewski killed in jail and sends a photograph to Dave, revealing his true identity as Chris D’Amico. Grief-stricken, Dave vows to never put on the Kick-Ass costume again, as he had promised his father. At the funeral, the Motherfucker’s gang ambushes and kidnap Dave.

Mindy pursues their fleeing van, killing all but one of its occupants, rescuing Dave, and convincing him to confront the Motherfucker. Dave and his superhero friends attack the villain’s lair where they are preparing to have Kick-Ass fed to a shark. While Kick-Ass fights the Motherfucker, Hit-Girl struggles against Mother Russia. Hit-Girl tricks Mother Russia into injecting her with a syringe of adrenaline. This gives her the strength to kill Mother Russia with shards of glass. Fighting on a rooftop, the Motherfucker falls through a skylight, but Kick-Ass grabs him. The Motherfucker refuses help and falls, landing in his own shark tank where he is mauled. Later on, Justice Forever decide to give up their superhero duties for good.

Mindy takes Dave home on her motorcycle and tells him that since she is wanted for murder she is leaving New York. She tells him he is now the superhero the city needs, and kisses him before departing. Dave accepts the responsibility and begins training and upgrading his equipment.

In a post-credits scene, the Motherfucker screams from a hospital bed for water. He shouts that his legs and genitalia were bitten off and is barely able to move.

REVIEW:

I have to say that I am suffering from a bit of sequelitis. There have been way too many of them to hit the theaters lately, and it is just taking its toll on my psyche. However, I just finished Kick-Ass 2 and my opinion may have changed…possibly. I do have another sequel on tap for the day.

What is this about?

In this sequel, high school superhero Kick-Ass has to find a new crime-fighting partner after Hit Girl is suddenly taken out of action. He joins another superhero team and is soon locked in battle with a supervillain bent on vengeance.

What did I like?

Violence. What can I say, I am a fan of senseless violence, which this film has plenty. Lots of blood is she in the fights, eyes are pokes out, hands cut off, etc. It was glorious! True, it may not be for everyone, but this a film called Kick-Ass and the main villain is The Motherfucker. Do you really expect anything less?

Stars and Striped forever. Jim Carrey, regardless of what he said before this film was released, gives a great performance as Colonel Stars and Stripes. The Colonel is not the typical Carrey character, as he is violent and somewhat serious. Someone said this is almost as if Carrey’s character from The Cable Guy cosplayed as Captain America or Sgt. Slaughter. If you think about the insanity of this thought, it makes sense. What is even more impressive about Col. Stars and Stripes is that he makes such an impression for only being in a few early scenes.

Take a hit. In the original Kick-Ass, there was a big controversy over young Chloe Moertz. Since then, she has gone on to become a beautiful and very talented actress that has shown a mature and diverse range in the projects she chooses. Returning to this franchise has allowed her to develop this character more than what we got in the first film, as well as her chemistry with Kick-Ass. The camaraderie between the two is amazing and will leave you wanting more.

What didn’t I like?

Put your shirt on. I have become fond of the show Arrow, but my biggest gripe about it is that they seem to go out of their way to show him without a shirt on. Do girls really go that crazy for a guy doing one arm pull-up with no shirt on? Ok, I bet you’re wondering what this has to do with anything, right? Well, it is quite simple really. There comes a time when an actor outgrows a role. For instance, Jessica Biel can’t exactly go back to being the innocent Mary Camden on 7th Heaven (the early seasons before she spiraled out of control). Well, Aaron Taylor Johnson has become a big actor since the first film. No longer is he the skinny dweeb that Kick-Ass is supposed to be. Now he is a buff dude with a 6 pack (capable of doing one arm pull-up as we see in the final shot). Maybe they should think of calling Michael Cera to replace him if they make a third film.

In Mother Russia. So, this league of supervillains that is put together has a muscle-bound woman who is actually given more screentime than all the rest of them, except for Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s The Motherfucker. What is my problem with her? Well, everytime I saw her, I couldn’t help but think of the Rocky movie with Bridgette Nielsen, and expected Dolph Lundgren to pop up somewhere. This woman is built like a truck, with abs of steel, and she sticks out in comparison to the others. Her fight with Hit Girl was entertaining, but it felt like she should have had at least a confrontation with Night-Bitch.

Too many cooks in the kitchen. An important part of this plot is the addition of the other superheroes (and villains), but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Even with the first members of the two factions, there just wasn’t enough development. For instance, Col. Stars and Stripes was apparently a gangster who worked for the Motherfucker’s father at one time. That would have been an interesting backstory to get into, but instead we learn about the married couple’s fight for justice, and none of the others. That was really a waste of space, if you ask me. To put this in the best way possible, it was like Justice League Unlimited. They brought in all these characters, but never used most of them as anything more than extras who may get a line here or there.

In a quick summation, Kick-Ass 2 kicks ass! Although I don’t recall much of the first film, I’m sure I will be remembering this one for some time. This isn’t all about superhero violence, though. There are some heartfelt, touching scenes and a comical Mean Girls style sequence in which Hit Girl gets her revenge without killing anyone. I laughed at the sheer comedic aspect it brought, not to mention it made Hit Girl seem human. There are little tidbits like that all throughout this film that make it a worthwhile watch. I very highly recommend this, so check it out!

4 3/4 out of 5 stars

The Truman Show

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) is the unsuspecting star of The Truman Show, a reality television program in which his entire life, since before birth, is filmed by thousands of hidden cameras, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and broadcast live around the world. The show’s creator and executive producer Christof (Ed Harris) is able to capture Truman’s real emotion and human behavior when put in certain situations. Truman’s hometown of Seahaven is a complete set built under a giant arcological dome in the Los Angeles area. Truman’s family and friends are all played by actors allowing Christof to control every aspect of Truman’s life. To prevent Truman from discovering his false reality, Christof has invented means of dissuading his sense of exploration, including “killing” his father in a storm initiated by Christof while on a fishing trip to instill in him a fear of the water, and making many news reports and commercials about the dangers of traveling, and featuring television shows about how good it is to stay at home. Despite Christof’s control, Truman has managed to behave in unexpected ways, in particular by falling in love with an extra, Sylvia (Natascha McElhone), known to Truman as Lauren, instead of Meryl (Laura Linney), the character intended to be his wife. Though Sylvia is quickly removed from the set and Truman marries Meryl, he continues to secretly pine for her. Sylvia becomes part of a “Free Truman” campaign that fights to free him from the show.

During the 30th year of The Truman Show, Truman notices certain aspects of his near-perfect world that seem out of place. A theatrical light falls from the artificial night sky constellations, nearly hitting him (quickly passed off by local radio as an aircraft’s dislodged landing light) and Truman’s car radio picks up a conversation between the show’s crew tracking his movements. Truman also becomes aware of more subtle abnormalities within his regular day-to-day life, such as the way in which the same people appear in the same places at certain times each day and Meryl’s tendency to blatantly advertise the various products she buys. Truman’s supposedly deceased father then reappears on the set dressed as a homeless man and is whisked away as soon as Truman notices him. (In a deleted scene, Truman gives a sandwich to a wheelchair-bound man, and then sees him jogging two days later. When the man denies everything, Truman points out he was wearing the same sneakers with the taped initials attached.)

Despite the best efforts of his family and his best friend Marlon to reassure him (the latter being fed lines of comforting dialogue by Christof through a wireless earpiece), all these events cause Truman to start wondering about his life, realizing how the world seems to revolve around him. Meryl grows increasingly stressed by the pressure of perpetuating the deception, and their marriage unravels in the face of Truman’s increasing skepticism and attendant hostility towards her. Truman attempts to leave Seahaven but is blocked by his inability to arrange flights, bus breakdowns, sudden traffic jams, a forest fire and a nuclear meltdown – which he becomes skeptical of when the policeman, whom Truman had never met before, calls him by name. After Meryl breaks down and is taken off the show, Christof officially brings back Truman’s father, hoping his presence will keep Truman from trying to leave. However, he only provides a temporary respite: Truman soon becomes isolated and begins staying alone in his basement after Meryl leaves him. One night, Truman fools the cameras and escapes the basement undetected via a secret tunnel, forcing Christof to ask Louis to search for Truman, but they realize he is gone, causing Christof to temporarily suspend broadcasting of the show for the first time in its history. This causes a surge in viewership, with many viewers, including Sylvia, cheering on Truman’s escape attempt.

Christof orders every actor and crew member to search the town, even breaking the town’s daylight cycle to help in the search. They find that Truman has overcome his fear of the water and has sailed away from the town in a small boat named Santa Maria (the name of the largest of the three ships with which Christopher Columbus sailed to the New World). After restoring the broadcast, Christof orders the show’s crew to create a large storm to try to capsize the boat, prompting a heated debate with his superiors over the morality and legality of killing Truman in front of a live global audience. Truman almost drowns, but his determination eventually leads Christof to terminate the storm. As Truman recovers, the boat reaches the edge of the dome, its bow piercing through the dome’s painted sky. An awe-struck Truman then discovers a flight of stairs nearby, leading to a door marked “EXIT”. As he contemplates leaving his world, Christof speaks directly to Truman via a powerful sound system, trying to persuade him to stay and arguing that there is no more truth in the real world than there is in his own, artificial world. Truman, after a moment’s thought, delivers his catchphrase, “In case I don’t see you… good afternoon, good evening, and good night”, bows to his audience and steps through the door and into the real world. The assembled television viewers excitedly celebrate Truman’s escape, and Sylvia quickly leaves her apartment to reunite with him. A network executive orders the crew to cease transmission. With the show completed, members of Truman’s former audience are shown looking for something else to watch.

REVIEW:

People today seem to go crazy about reality shows, the stupider they are, the more they seem to watch. These insults to intelligence have taken over society so much that a few channels have changed their format to show more “reality”. I’m looking at you MTV! I hate reality tv and do all I can to avoid it, but that didn’t stop me from watching The Truman Show.

What is this about?

Truman Burbank is the star of “The Truman Show,” a 24-hour-a-day TV phenomenon that broadcasts every aspect of his life without his knowledge. When Truman discovers that his life is a sham for public consumption, he makes a desperate escape bid.

What did I like?

Premise. At the time this was released, reality TV hadn’t taken over and polluted the airwaves, yet, so the idea of a 24-hr show watching a guy grow up for 30 yrs is quite intriguing. I’m actually surprised no one has tried this yet, but there might be legal reasons keeping that from happening.

Truman. Jim Carrey’s career at this time was all about him being the insane, rubber band man that we know from In Living Color and the Ace Ventura movies, among other things. This is one of those few times that he takes a “serious” turn, though there are some comedic moments. I applaud Carrey’s stab at something different, and he actually doesn’t do a bad job as a serious actor. I was actually a little surprised, but it is when he goes back to the comedic moments that he really shines.

World. This whole world that Truman lived in was something to behold. It is just a city in a dome, basically, but the fact that for 30 years cameras stayed hidden from him because of where they were conveniently hidden was pretty cool. Ed Harris’ character’s manipulation of things, otherwise known as producing, kept everything hidden from Truman, even going so far as to create a situation that causes him to develop a fear of water. For a reality show, this is some impressive feat!

What didn’t I like?

Cheese. Many people seem to not care about the “cheesy” shows from the 50s. As anyone that knows me can attest, I love the shows from back then. The show part of this film seems to go that route, but then it stops. For me, I think they could have capitalized more on the cheesy product placement.

Reaction. Occasionally, we get a flash of what the people in the “real world” are reacting to what happens to Truman as things happen. The fact that people are that obsessed with this one show is insane, but then again, people are the same way with the crappy stuff that comes on today, so I really shouldn’t be surprised.

Protest. The girl who Truman desires in high school/college gets taken away for her attempt to tell Truman the truth. Fast forward to present day and she’s a model or something who is still protesting that Truman is stuck in the proverbial bubble. My problem with her is that she is made out to be this radical protester, but she never does anything, except for that one call to the studio. We see all those signs in her apartment, and that’s it. It seems to me that she should have been shown to be riling up some protests.

Take away the reality tv aspect of The Truman Show, which has long been a deterrent for me regarding this film, and this is actually a pretty great film. However, my hatred for all things reality related has caused a deep prejudice. I still say this is a good little film that I felt could safely watched by audiences of all ages. Do I recommend it, though? Sure, there isn’t anything here to say no, so give it a shot!

4 out of 5 stars

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1982, young Albert is harassed by bullies. His mother gives him a special magic trick set by veteran magician Rance Holloway as his birthday present. He studies the instructional video and begins to practice some tricks, attracting the attention of a classmate, Anthony. They practice together and eventually become professional magicians Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton, earning them success and an ongoing headlining act at the Bally’s Hotel in Las Vegas. However, after ten years of performing the same tricks over and over again, Anton is fed up with Burt’s ego, which has already cost them previous female assistants, all called “Nicole” in the act. In a rush, Burt enlists production assistant Jane as the new Nicole.

Burt and Anton encounter up-and-coming street magician Steve Gray performing a unique yet horrifying card trick for his TV magic show, Brain Rapist. Audience numbers soon dwindle at Burt and Anton’s show, upsetting Bally’s owner Doug Munny. Taking a cue from Gray’s endurance-based stunts, Anton suggests that he and Burt try a similar tack—locking themselves in a plastic cage called the Hot Box hung above ground. Overconfident, Burt does not prepare for the stunt and almost instantly falls into a panic, causing the stunt to fail and injuring Anton. Anton angrily ends his partnership with Burt, and Jane also quits.

Burt refuses to change his act, staging his two-man show alone to disastrous results. Munny shuts down the production and Burt, having squandered his earnings over the years, is left broke. Despondent, Burt tries to find work and is eventually hired as an entertainer at an assisted-living facility catering to former Vegas entertainers. There he meets Holloway, who retired several years before because he found that he was no longer happy performing. Holloway counsels Burt about magic, inspiring him to remember the initial wonder that led him to become a magician. Burt is shocked to see Jane—herself an aspiring magician—working for Gray. Appalled by Gray’s style, Holloway and Burt polish their own tricks. Jane visits her grandmother at the facility and patches things up with Burt.

Doug is opening a new casino-hotel and is offering a five-year contract to the winner of a talent search on the casino’s opening night. He invites Burt to do a magic show at his son’s birthday party, but Gray also appears and tries to upstage Burt with his own tricks. Disgusted by Gray’s actions, Jane leaves his show. Burt reconnects with Anton, who has been distributing magic sets in Cambodia. A drug found in Cambodia that puts users into a deep sleep gives them an idea for a sensational trick.

At the show, Gray’s performance involves him drilling into his brain, claiming it will not affect him. Holloway introduces Burt, Anton, and Jane’s performance, the “Disappearing Audience”. The group secretly sedates the audience with sleeping gas and then transports them to an outside location in the same seating locations. The audience awakes and responds with awe, and Doug awards the headlining act to Burt and Anton; they ask Jane to be their opening act. The trio then performs the Disappearing Audience trick again, returning everyone to the casino theater, as now mentally-impaired Gray watches on with the drill bit still in his skull.

The film ends showing Burt, Anton, Holloway and others unceremoniously dragging and transporting the audience members to the open area, before hauling them back to the theater in a moving van.

REVIEW:

When I was growing up, magicians still did magic, not freaky stunts. It appears that The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is meant to take us back to those days with its message, but does it succeed?

What is this about?

When his stage partner quits the act after being injured during a trick, burned-out Las Vegas magician Burt Wonderstone must find a way to persuade his sidekick to return to help fend off the hotshot rival who’s seizing the spotlight.

What did I like?

Brain Rapist. Back in the early 90s, Jim Carrey was on top of the world. Then he tried to become a “serious” actor, which was a valiant effort, but not something that works for him. Lately, he’s been returning to the kind of roles that made him who he is, such as this Criss Angel-inspired street magician. Carrey is at his over-the-top finest, thought you can see age starting to catch up with the guy.

Magic. Growing up, magicians seemed to be everywhere. Let’s see, there was Harry Blackstone on Square One, Judge Stone on Night Court, the yearly David Copperfield specials. There was a time when magicians gave us a sense of wonder and excitement. Alan Arkin’s character even comments on it in the film. Today, though, magicians are a joke. Thankfully, this picture gives us the magic of magic again.

Rivalry. The rivalry between Carrel and Carrey’s characters is a pretty interesting one. Basically, you have the “old-school” tricks and illusions going against the “new-school” gross out mindfreaks. What better way to set up a rivalry, huh? Throw in the little fact that these guys seems to work well together, since this is the at least the third time we’ve seem them paired as on-screen rivals.

What didn’t I like?

Zigfried & Roy. Magicians in Las Vegas need somewhere to unwind after a long day of astounding audiences. They have a bar for this purpose and in this bar, we meet a couple of characters  who seem to be Ziegfried & Roy. One of them even gets mauled by a tiger? There is also the costumes that Wonderstone and his partner wear that are very much a rip off of those guys. I was scratching my head wondering was this an homage or just a bad rip-off?

Jokes. Where was the funny? This is supposed to be a comedy, but other than a couple of chuckles, I didn’t really laugh. Carrey’s moments and a couple of sight gags are all that are worth watching, but these things aren’t seen that much, in favor of some over baked drama with Carrel’s character that is allegedly important to the story.

Ancillary and predictable. As you can guess from the way this plays out, there is a break up in the partnership, only to have them reunite right before the climax. Can you get more predictable than that? Also, Olivia Wilde’s character is nothing more than a pretty face. She has a couple of moments that develop her character, but I was scratching my head wondering why they used her instead of some random chick, like perhaps the blonde that we say early on in the film.

I’m not really a huge magic fan. I can’t stand the so-called “magicians” like David Blaine and Criss Angel, so what do I ultimately think of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone? Well, it has moments where it harkens back to those magicians that are worth seeing, but the fact that this is released in a time when no one cares about magicians gives me cause to pause. I cannot really recommend it, but I can say it might be worth watching when it comes on a weekend afternoon in a few years.

3 out of 5 stars

The Cable Guy

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on January 12, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

After a failed marriage proposal to his girlfriend Robin Harris (Leslie Mann), Steven M. Kovacs (Matthew Broderick) moves into his own apartment after they agree to spend some time apart. Enthusiastic cable guy Ernie “Chip” Douglas (Jim Carrey), a man with a lisp, installs his cable. Taking advice from his friend Rick (Jack Black), Steven bribes Chip to give him free movie channels, to which Chip agrees. Before he leaves, Chip gets Steven to hang out with him the next day and makes him one of his “preferred customers”.

As promised, Chip arrives the next day, where he takes Steven to the satellite dish responsible for sending out television. Steven tells his problems with Robin to Chip, who tells him to admit his faults to Robin and invite her over to watch Sleepless in Seattle, which is running on HBO the next night. Steven takes Chip’s advice, and Robin agrees to watch the movie with him. The next day, Chip begins acting more suspicious, “running into” Steven and his friends at the gym and leaving 10 messages on Steven’s answering machine. When Robin arrives to watch the movie, the cable is out, thanks to Chip, who intentionally sabotaged Steven’s cable when he didn’t call Chip back. Chip fixes the cable under the condition that they hang out again. Steven agrees.

The next evening, Chip takes Steven to Medieval Times, where Chip arranges for them to battle in the arena, referencing the Star Trek episode “Amok Time”. Chip behaves aggressively, nearly killing Steven, who eventually bests him in combat. Afterwards, Chip congratulates Steven, who decides the experience was fun. When they arrive at Steven’s home, Chip reveals that he’s installed an expensive home theater system in his living room. Chip and Steven later host a party, complete with a karaoke sing-off. With Chip’s help, Steven sleeps with a woman named Heather, while Chip serenades the party by singing Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love”. The next morning Chip reveals that Heather is a prostitute. Furious, Steven throws Chip out. Chip tells Steven he will make things better.

Chip tracks down Robin, who is on a date with another man (Owen Wilson). When the man goes to the bathroom, Chip beats him up and tells him to stay away from Robin. He later upgrades Robin’s cable, saying that it’s on Steven. Robin decides to get back together with Steven as a result. Steven tells Chip that they cannot be friends, which hurts Chip. Chip then begins a series of vengeful acts. He gets Steven arrested for possession of stolen property (the home theater system), although Steven is released on bail. Steven is later fired from his job when Chip sends out a video of Steven insulting his boss to the entire office that was recorded by hidden cameras in his apartment.

During a dinner with his family and Robin, Steven is horrified to see Chip is in attendance as well. Steven tells him to leave, but Chip tells him to play along or he will show everyone the picture of him with the prostitute. The evening goes from bad to worse as Chip gets on well with Steven’s family and leads everyone in a game of “porno password”. Steven finally punches Chip when he implies he slept with Robin.

Rick later tells Steven that Chip has been fired from the cable company for stalking customers, and uses the names of television characters as aliases. Chip calls Steven that night, telling him he’s paying Robin a visit. Steven tracks them down to the satellite dish, where Chip holds Robin hostage. After a physical altercation and a chase, Steven gets the upper hand and is able to save Robin. As the police arrive, Chip goes into a long speech on how he was raised by television (“I learned the facts of life by watching The Facts of Life!”) and apologizes to Steven for being a bad friend. He then dives into the satellite dish, which knocks out the cable across the entire town, just as the verdict in a highly publicized case involving a famous child star is about to be revealed. The following scene shows a man turning off his television and picking up a book, noticeably intrigued.

Chip survives the fall, but injures his back. As Steven and Robin reunite, Steven forgives Chip and asks for his real name. Chip jokingly replies “Ricky Ricardo”. Chip is later taken to the hospital in a helicopter. When one of the paramedics addresses him as “buddy”, Chip asks the paramedic if he is truly his buddy, to which the paramedic replies, “Sure,” causing Chip to smile deviously just before the credits roll.

REVIEW:

That stereotype about cable guys taking forever and day to hook up your cable is true, at least it was with my current hookup. Of course, the one I had in college was hooked up by an ex of a friend. Had no idea he worked there, but that’s neither here no there. The Cable Guy is one of Jim Carrey’s darker roles, but some have said it is one of his better performances. Then there are those that rank this as one of the worst things on his resume.

What is this about?

When recently single Steven (Matthew Broderick) moves into his new apartment, cable guy Chip (Jim Carrey) comes to hook him up — and doesn’t let go. Initially, Chip is just overzealous in his desire to be Steven’s pal, but when Steven tries to end the “friendship,” Chip shows his dark side. He begins stalking Steven, who’s left to fend for himself because no one else can believe Chip’s capable of such behavior.

What did i like?

Music. No, I’m not talking about the score, but rather some musical cues that are used, such as music from Star Trek episodes when Carrey’s character is acting out what happened in his “battle” with Broderick. There is another one later on in the movie, but I can’t recall what it is from. Little things like that go along way towards getting some high marks from me.

Medieval Times. I have never been to Medieval Times. The closest one is either in Dallas or Orlando, I think. Also, I’m not a big fan of the Dark Ages. However, I do like buxom wenches and jousting. The contest between our two leads wasn’t the best, but can you imagine what it would be like if you actually got up there and tried to do that? I doubt it would have been as clean. Kudos to them!

Creepy Carrey. We’ve all come across that one guy (or girl) that is just plain creepy. They could be this way because of a our prejudices, perhaps it is some kind of deformity, or maybe it is something we’ve heard about them. Whatever the case, save for being hunted down by a serial killer, I don’t think any of us can imagine anything creepier than Carrey’s stalker cable guy character. Well, maybe is Sheldon from Big Bang Theory were to become s supervillain. Man, that would truly be scary!

What didn’t I like?

Stiller. Ben Stiller directed this and, much like Tarantino, he just has to make an appearance. His appearance isn’t even important to the film, though. He plays this pair of twins on television on trial for murder. They keep coming back to it as random as pop up ads, and just when it seems as though something  is about to happen with them…*poof* Unfulfilled!

Jack Black. True, I’m not the biggest Jack Black fan. Also, I actually think he did a much better job than most of his other roles. That doesn’t get him off the hook, though. This role could have been the start of Black’s descent into what I call madness. He plays the “funny friend”, but he isn’t really funny. Perfect for Jack Black!

Satellite. Something that bothered me about the satellite dish scenes was how easy they were able to just get up there. That seems like the kind of place that is usually heavily locked up. How is it a lowly cable guy can get in there? I would really like to know!

The Cable Guy is one of the films that I think gets a bad rap. Is it a great film? No, but it isn’t anywhere near as bad as everyone seems to think it is. I won’t be going out of my way to watch it again, but if it were to show up one afternoon that I’m flipping through the channels, I may stop and watch a bit. I’m sure you’ll feel the same way.

3 out of 5 stars